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False Scent Mass Market Paperback – April 15, 1999

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Miss Marsh triumphs.' Daily Telegraph 'High-spirited, amusing .. neatly contrived from start to finish.' New Statesman 'As high-spirited and amusing as Surfeit of Lampreys.' New Statesman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

From her first book in 1934 to her final volume just before her death in 1982, Ngaio Marsh's work has remained legendary, and is often compared to that of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. During her celebrated fifty-year career, Marsh was made a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, was named Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire, won numerous prestigious awards, and penned 32 mystery novels.

Now St. Martin's Dead Letter Mysteries is thrilled to make all of Marsh's novels available again for old fans to relish and new ones to discover. So sit back, draw the curtains, lock the doors, and put yourself in the hands of Grande Dame of detective novels...
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Dead Letter; Reprint edition (April 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312968981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312968984
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MK Writer on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mary Bellamy is an aging actress, given to fits of jealousy and paranoia, who can go from charming to vindictive in less than ten seconds. So really, no one should have been too surprised when someone takes the aptly named "Slaypest" insecticide that Mary uses on her flowers, and kills her with it. Suddenly, those closest to Mary - her adopted son, devoted husband, faithful maid, old nanny, personal stylist/designer, old admirer and theatre colleagues are suspected of murder. A particularly good read if you are at all familiar with the inner-workings of the theatre and the mentality of theatre folk.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 3, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Published in 1959, FALSE SCENT finds Ngaio Marsh setting her scene among London's theatre folk--and to wickedly witty effect. Mary Bellamy, famous for her "v" shaped smile and her way with light comedy, has long been known as one of the leading lights of the stage. Indeed, it may have been a bit too long: her temper tantrums have become as legendary as her career, and her 50th birthday provides ample showcase for them. Before the day is out she will snap, snarl, create two extremely nasty scenes--and end up dead, literally a victim of her own vanity.

Marsh is renowned for her skill at creating both memorable characters and settings, and she often gives her novels a theatrical background; it was world she knew well, and she digs her nails into every scrap of it. But Marsh's plots are not always the equal of her literary skill, and this is somewhat true of FALSE SCENT; although the novel is tremendous fun, a good many readers will spot the killer midway through the book. Still, with Marsh getting there is often the fun, and while FALSE SCENT doesn't really stand among the best of her best, it is a vastly entertaining reading. Recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Maria Jette on February 27, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
I'm a mystery lover, and a book reader in general, but had never tried audiobooks until a couple of weeks ago, when I bought this one for a road trip. What a thrill! This reader is a BRILLIANT actor... in terms of characterizations of the typically wide range of class accents in this sort of British murder mystery, as well as inflection in long spells of narrative, he is superb. I almost regret having heard his performance, as I've since been listening to a "Miss Silver" mystery from another company (and reader), and have been disappointed by a bland delivery and some distracting problems with audio levels. I'm going to check out EVERY audio book read by JAmes Saxon, though-- "False Scent" was spellbinding. I'm a convert to the format, and looking forward to my commutes with future Marsh/Saxon volumes.
Oh yes-- the book itself is wonderful, as are all Ngaio Marsh novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
To be "done in" at one's own birthday party is not exactly what one would wish for! But in
Ngaio Marsh's "False Scent," this is what happens. Kind of. Famed--and much revered--Mary
Bellamy of the London stage takes a whiff of her favorite perfume, and, poof, she's dead!
In typical Marsh fashion, of course, "False Scent" is off to the races, once again with
Superintendent Roderick Alleyn on the "scent," as it were. No odor is too powerful for him! The
allure of such crimes keeps him (and Marsh) going. The taciturn Alleyn moves in and out of the
local theatre circuit (or perhaps "circus") and methodically, systematically, and accurately
categorizing all clues, false and otherwise (and Marsh is good at this, too, as she's proved in over 30
such novels!).
What a web Dame Marsh weaves and what a journey it is for her readers. Hold on to your seats,
this a blockbuster! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on December 21, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
false scent -
1. (as a phrase) a trail mistakenly believed to lead to the quarry, especially such a trail laid with the intention of deflecting pursuit or misleading an investigation
2. (from the individual words) a perfume that is either not genuine or that is treacherous
- from the SHORTER OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

I recommend the unabridged recording narrated by James Saxon. Ngaio Marsh's books appear to best advantage when performed rather than simply read (possibly her work as a playwright makes the dialogue specially effective that way).

FALSE SCENT is one of Marsh's mysteries set in the world of the theatre (like most of them, specifically the London stage). The entire action of the book takes place in a single day and night, the fiftieth birthday of the famous comedic actress Mary Bellamy (not that many people officially know her age, apart from her devoted dresser/personal maid Florence, her often-forgotten doting husband Charles Templeton, and her elderly ex-nurse, Ninn - who enjoys drinking port and being outrageous). The point of view in the first portion of the book rotates through various members of the cast, beginning with the intended victim's dream of her own funeral tributes, fading into the actual tributes offered to her on her birthday.

Although she's a comedic actress who fancies herself charming and generous, dealing with Mary Bellamy has been anything but a laugh of late for those close to her. In reality, she demands absolute devotion from everyone, reducing them to satellites in her orbit, seeking her permission before forming professional relationships with anyone else.
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